Violent Crimes in San Diego
In San Diego, a violent crime is a crime where the person uses violence or threats of violence against the victim. For these type of crimes, violence can either be the means of committing the crime or the objective of the crime. Each crime is made up of specific elements that a prosecutor must prove in the case. The prosecutor must be able to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that if just one element of a crime cannot be proven, the jury must acquit the defendant of all charges.
Understanding Penal Code Section 667.5
Violent felonies are listed under California Penal Code section 667.5 and include but are not limited to the following crimes:
California Penal Code 451 and 452 define arson as the willful and malicious or reckless act of setting fire to any building, forest land, or property, other than one’s own property.
2) Assault With Deadly Weapon
California Penal Code 245(a)(1) defines assault with a deadly weapon as an assault committed by means of force that is likely to cause great bodily injury to another or with any kind of weapon that could result in death.
California Penal Code 215 defines car jacking as the serious crime of taking a car from another person by means of force or fear. Force or fear means by threatening imminent physical harm or actually inflicting physical force upon the alleged victim.
4) Criminal Threats
California Penal Code 422 defines criminal threats as the threat to kill or physically harm someone and that person is thereby placed in a state of reasonably sustained fear for their safety or for the safety of his or her family. The threat must be specific and unequivocal. The threat may be communicated verbally, in writing, or with an electronic device. It is important to note that a person can be charged with making a criminal threat even if they lack the ability or the intention to actually carry out the threat.
5) Domestic Battery
California Penal Code 243(e)(1) defines domestic battery as battery committed upon a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, parent of one’s child, fiancé, or anyone with whom the defendant has had an intimate relationship.
California Penal Code 211 defines robbery as taking someone else’s property from the person’s body or immediate area of possession by using force or instilling fear in the person. Robbery is a felony that is punishable by a sentence of 2 to 9 years in state prison.
7) Child Endangerment
California Penal Code 273(a) defines child endangerment as placing a child in danger by the wilful causing or allowing of a minor:
- To suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering
- To have his or her person or health injured
- To have his or her health or safety endangered
Penalties for Violent Crimes
The consequences for a violent crime conviction vary from a fine being imposed, community service, or court-ordered anger management classes. Each crime is different so the penalties will depend on the type of offense and the circumstances surrounding the offense. The deciding factors when assessing penalties will be the defendant’s priors, the use of a weapon in the commission of the crime and the identity of the victim. In addition to these aggravating factors, some convictions will also carry mandatory sentencing requirements including imprisonment.
Three Strikes Law Implications
After California enacted the three strikes law in 1994, some violent felonies began being treated as strikes. The Three Strikes law mandates state courts to impose life sentences on persons convicted of three or more serious criminal offenses or violent felonies. Thereby limiting the ability of offenders to receive a punishment other than a life sentence.
If you are not a citizen in the United States and your are found guilty of a violent crime, in addition to the penalties provided under California PC 667.5 you may face deportation proceedings. A conviction under PC 667.5 is also considered a crime of moral turpitude. Crimes of moral turpitude are viewed as more offensive and reprehensible than other crimes. A conviction of a crime of moral turpitude would potentially make you eligible for deportation proceedings.
Each violent crime is made up of its own specific elements that a prosecutor must prove in the case. If just one element of a crime cannot be proven, the jury must acquit the defendant. Contact experienced criminal defense attorney Vik Monder at 619-405-0063 if you have any questions about Violent Crimes in San Diego. We can help you launch a strong criminal defense if you have been charged with a Violent Crime under PC 667.5.